LAS VEGAS -- The Mavs were desperately hoping a big man would emerge from the pack at the Las Vegas summer league. That became an even larger necessity with Bernard James having to head back to Dallas for personal reasons. One finally did emerge in the form of Jackie Carmichael.
In just under 27 minutes of action, the 6-foot-9 forward from Illinois State University started at power forward and contributed 23 points and nine rebounds in the 95-89 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday in the first round of the LVSL championship tournament. He had a combined nine points and three rebounds in less than 22 minutes of action in the team’s previous three games.
“I just wanted to come out there and do whatever I could to help the team,” Carmichael said. “I think just attacking the glass and being active opened everything else. That’s my game, trying to stay active. Everything else fell into place.”
Carmichael was actually a late addition to the summer league roster after Jud Dillard departed the team before heading to Las Vegas. He was trying to find his way as the team played their first three games and finally broke through in the fourth game.
Carmichael ranks first all-time in Illinois State history in blocks (200), eighth in scoring (1,580) and third in rebounds (942) and double-doubles (35). As a senior, Carmichael averaged 17.4 points and a team-high 9.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in 33 games.
“He’s an effort guy,” Mavs summer league coach Monte Mathis said of Carmichael. “We got the effort and aggressiveness. He made some shots (against the Clippers), which it was nice to see one of our bigs make a few shots.
“He had some big rebounds, but he just gave us a lot of activity out there and a lot of effort.”
Carmichael drew praise from Mavs owner Mark Cuban, as well.
“Jackie showed he’s a beast," Cuban said. "He played, really, really well.”
Most of the players playing the summer league that aren’t the recognizable names are doing so just to have an opportunity to impress the coaches and scouts and show they deserve a chance to be invited to training camp or earn a job overseas.
“There’s always an opportunity, so we’ll have to see how it all places out,” Cuban said of Carmichael’s chances of earning an invite to the Mavs’ training camp. “He’s definitely doing his best to earn it.”
The summer league is often about hope, opportunity and keeping the dream of being a professional basketball player alive. Even though there’s still a lot left to be determined, Carmichael likes where he's at.
“It is early, but I’d like to think they’re pretty good,” the forward said. “I’m a hard-working, tough, defensive minded player. I feel like I’d fit in great with the organization. I would love to be a Dallas Maverick this coming season.
“It’s a great opportunity. I’m just trying to take full advantage of it.”
If the Mavs can make a deep run in the championship tournament and he plays a role in their success, he’ll have a stronger chance of keeping his dream alive.